Thanet community news: Firewalk, Christmas fair, QEQM Friends, Parkinson’s UK, long service award, Martha Trust and family research appeal

Pilgrims Hospices Firewalk event

Pilgrims Hospices

Pilgrims Hospices sponsored Firewalk series returned for its sixth year over the bonfire season and saw almost 90 brave supporters face their fears to conquer the coals.  The annual event challenges people to walk barefoot over red-hot wood embers measuring 800 degrees and raise much-needed funds for Pilgrims specialist, end-of-life care!

The daring dash took place in three locations across east Kent – in Ashford on 29th October, Canterbury on 30th October and Broadstairs on 6th November – and is expected to raise more than £12,000 for the local hospice charity with more sponsorship to follow.

Georgie Bayford and Andrea Smallbone from Broadstairs

A total of 932 Pilgrims supporters have taken on the ‘hottest, shortest sponsored walk in the world’ since 2016 to raise a staggering £210,358 for those living with an incurable illness in our community.

Robert Grew, Pilgrims Events Manager, said: “It was fantastic to see so many supporters, quite literally, stepping out of their comfort zone to brave the barefoot firewalk for Pilgrims Hospices. A huge thank you to everyone who joined us and faced their fear to raise vital funds for the care of patients in our local community. You’ve followed in the toasted footsteps of more than 900 Pilgrims supporters before you and certainly earned your place in the Hall of Flame!”

Motivational speaker and firewalk specialist Cliff Mann, held a training seminar for participants before they stepped out to face the flames.

Cliff said: “Firewalking is a huge personal challenge, I’ve been teaching people the skills for more than 30 years now.  It’s great to be back and empowering Pilgrims supporters to take on the hottest shortest sponsored walk in the world.  It’s always a great pleasure to help charities raise vital funds while helping people to achieve something truly life changing.”

Robert added: “We’d like to thank our services team at the Ashford Hospice for making it possible to hold our event in the hospice grounds; the University of Kent Sport for hosting us in Canterbury, and our latest venue for Firewalk, Thanet Wanderers Rugby Club at Broadstairs, for making us welcome and giving everyone a very special night to remember.

“Sponsorship money will continue to come in for some time yet, we will be able to announce a final figure around the festive season.”

There are some great challenges and events on Pilgrims Hospices website  Why not take a look and help Pilgrims Hospices reach even more people who need our specialist care?

Care is provided from three hospice sites in Ashford, Canterbury and Thanet as well as in patients’ own homes.  To offer these services to patients and their families the charity must raise £11 million each year from the generous local community.

Thanet Virtual High Street

Thanet Virtual High Street and the Thanet Stalls Directory are very excited to be staging a Traditional Christmas Fair for the whole community in the Old Town Margate on 11th & 12th December,11am-5pm.

Thanet Virtual High Street was created during lockdown as a platform for small local businesses to maintain their profile and promote their products and services online via our Facebook group and business directory. This was a godsend last Christmas for many people who just couldn’t get out to any shops. They discovered so many new things they never knew existed and this was the start of changing people’s shopping habits to shop and support local.

Since coming out of lockdown TVHS wanted to maintain this and continues to encourage virtual selling but also wants physical businesses to promote themselves to tempt people back to our amazing local high streets and venues. TVHS decided to stage this event to bring people together after such a tough period of time and give small local businesses the opportunity to sell to the people that supported them online during the lockdown.

We will be having gifts, crafts, jewellery, confectionery, pet accessories and clothing stalls to name a few. We are also providing a stage area for entertainment for lots of local groups over the weekend. So many dance schools and choirs missed out on opportunities over the last 18 months so hopefully this will allow them to perform again to all their friends and families. Lockdown was extremely isolating for so many people so we hope this Christmas event will bring our communities together again.

QEQM Hospital League of Friends

At our latest Committee meeting it was agreed to fund:

– 8 sleeper chairs for Rainbow Children’s Ward to enable a parent to stay overnight with their child in greater comfort

– Posters for the Outpatients gymnasium

It was also agreed to purchase a Christmas present for each patient having to stay in the hospital over the festive period.(as we have done for many years).

We can only finance such items thanks to the generosity of our supporters. If you’d like to help us donations, however small, can be made or fundraising facilitated online at .

More information about our charity is available on our Facebook page or our website

Thanet Branch of Parkinson’s UK

The Thanet Branch of Parkinson’s UK meets at the Union Church in Union Crescent, Margate. Meetings held every Friday from 1.45pm until 3.45pm.

New members welcome

Contact telephone: 01843 842985 or mobile: 07958 731910  or email: [email protected] for further information.

Visit the website to learn how your local branch can offer support for people with Parkinson’s.

Volunteers required to assist at meetings on a regular or occasional basis.

UK Power Networks long service award

A power worker from Ramsgate has had his long service with the electricity industry recognised by his employer, UK Power Networks.

The company which keeps electricity flowing to 8.3 million homes and businesses across the South East, London and East of England invites employees who have given 40 years of continuous service to join a special 40-plus club.

Pat McEvely, 56, a field staff supervisor from Ramsgate joined the industry at 16 as an apprentice and worked as a linesman from 1981 to 2009. He progressed into a supervisory role, managing teams that maintain reliable electricity supplies to homes and businesses.

Pat said: “I have enjoyed the last 40 years in the industry. In both roles I liked the variety, seeing lots of different things and having the ability to put a smile on our customers’ faces by doing the work and restoring supplies. Doing a practical job, as a linesman, colleagues are reliant each other to get the job done safely and get people’s power supplies back on.

“The 1987 hurricane was the standout event of my career. I have never seen anything else like it. We faced a month of long hours getting people back on supply and some people were without electricity for three weeks due to the severity of the storm. I remember seeing a bundle of tree stakes spiked through a tin roof, such was the severity of the storm.

“Soon after the storm I was doing a line patrol at Howletts Wild Animal Park and didn’t realise I was being stalked by a tiger! There was ivy growing up the chainlink fence so I couldn’t see it was 5ft away from me and when I came into view it launched at the fence with paws as big as a face. I forgot about the fence and thought I was a goner! My knees gave way and I collapsed to the floor with fright. When I got back to the van my colleague said it looked like I had seen a ghost! I have had total respect for tigers ever since this encounter!”

Pat added: “The industry has changed massively during my 40 years. There is proper supervision today and safety is much better. Issues were not reported years ago so we didn’t learn from mistakes. Communication is much better now and that improved safety.

“It’s a very good job and we don’t see many people leaving the company, which speaks for itself.”

Basil Scarsella, chief executive of UK Power Networks, said: “We take this opportunity to recognise the commitment and dedication of our longest-serving employees, who have served their local communities for decades. The last 18 months have been an unprecedented time and I am grateful to all of our staff for their key role in keeping power flowing and enabling people to go about their daily lives, while preparing the networks for an exciting low carbon future.”

Martha Trust

Broome Park Hotel have chosen to support local charity Martha Trust as their charity for 2022. It is a special year for the charity as it will be celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Fundraising & Events Officer Kerry Banks BEM said: “ We are so looking forward to working with the fabulous team at Broome Park and are incredibly grateful for being chosen as their charity to support in 2022. Their support will go towards making the lives of our residents with profound disabilities more comfortable and enriched through projects.”

The hotel will be kick starting their fundraising with one of their Christmas parties on December 4th where there will be a silent auction plus a raffle and other fundraising activities. Less than 50 tickets are still available and are £40 each.

They will also be holding a Christmas Fayre in their marquee on Sat November 28th  in aid of Martha Trust . Stalls are £15 or £20 with electric. If you would like to book a stall or buy tickets for their Christmas Fayre, please email [email protected]

In 2022, with the support of the charity , Broome Park will be hosting a Music4Martha afternoon on Sunday 14th August. This event will be free to attend with fundraising activities on the day.

There will be a chance to browse local produce stalls as well as sample local food and drinks from the hotel as well as from Drink Outside the Box. There will be live music throughout the day as well as other activities on offer too.

The event has been sponsored so far by Broome Park Hotel and CH Staffing who are based in Margate and are the charity’s Events Sponsor for 2022. If you would like to purchase a stall space, offer sponsorship or offer an activity for the day , please contact Kerry on 01304 610448 or email [email protected].

Sales Manager Tyler Christy said: “Having worked at Broome Park Hotel for 4 years, I have been a part of hosting, running and planning many events here. It is so exciting to be able to put our skills and knowledge to the benefit of Martha Trust for 2022 and know that as a business we are supporting a great charity.

“The work of Martha Trust is incredibly community based, taking care of our members in need. We therefore wanted to create events alongside their fundraiser Kerry that will show this community care and have done so in creating some great plans for both Christmas period and Summer 2022.”

Family research appeal

I have some information about a one time mayor of Margate, Alderman William Henry Hughes but, because of a burst pipe in the house, most of it has been badly damaged. I have a print of a photograph (also damaged) and some heading details:_

“Death of Alderman WH Hughes. “Father of Margate Council”

Sixty years of work for town he loved”

The photo is from Sunbeam Photo Ltd and I believe the date is 1935, but I’m not certain.

Unfortunately I am not able to read all the articles about him but, from the odd sentences, it seems he had something to do with a surfboat disaster committee and the Prince of Wales Fund.

Many of my ancestors were from Kent. I may perhaps have relatives there now. I haven’t got that far with my research yet to verify it.

Contact [email protected] and we will pass the information on.